SHC sets aside demand notice prior to show cause notice

KARACHI: A demand notice issued by the custom without issuing show cause was set aside by a custom appellate bench of High Court of Sindh.

The bench was hearing a constitution petition filed by Messers SparkWorld  (Pvt) Ltd Lahore through Franklin Law Associates. Versus Collector Customs East (Appraisement) and Directorate of Intelligence and Investigations (I&I).

The counsel from the renowned law firm submitted that demand notice was issued without pre-curosr show cause notice whereby amounts were demanded in respect of GDs pertaining to items cleared previously. The counsel submitted that such a notice was in abuse of process and manifestly unjust.

No assessment is permissible in respect of released goods, the counsel from Franklin Law Associates pleaded.

The counsel for respondent custom officials supported the demand notice and said it was proper and just.

The bench however after hearing both the sides held that it is well settled law that a departmental notice may not ordinarily merit interference unless it is manifested that it suffers from want of jurisdiction, amounts to an abuse of process and is or mala fide, unjst towards the recipient. The bench relied on judgments by the Supreme Court which has held that no demand notice could be issued in the absence of requisite show cause notice.

The bench further noted in its order that in the present facts and circumstances, it is manifest that GDs under reference pertains to pre-released items and any subsequent re-assessment required issuance of a show cause notice, admittedly abjured by the respondents. Therefore the impugned notice having  been issued without any proper show cause issued was devoid of any lawful foundation. The bench moving further allowed the petition setting aside the impugned demand notice.

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